The Yankees have reached the offseason many believed would see them make monumental moves that push them back to the head of the pack in the American League as they aim for a 28th World Series title.
Here is an update of rumors surrounding the Yankees pursuits, followed by my take on how things currently stand and may shake out...
Happ signing doesn't preclude trade
Signing J.A. Happ will not preclude the Yankees from trading for a starting pitcher, according to SNY.tv's Andy Martino.
MY TAKE >> It would be wise for the Yankees to go into the season with six experienced MLB starters in the stable. The last several seasons, the Yankees' immediate depth beyond the front five has failed to supply needed production. That is due in part to the Triple-A hurlers lacking the ability to step directly into a role. In addition to this, should the Yankees add another starter it would alleviate stress on pitchers like Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia, both of whom might find extra time off as a benefit.
Boras sticks foot in door, as Death Star sits on other side
Bryce Harper's agent Scott Boras wants no part of believing the Yankees are fully out of the race for his client. Meanwhile, Yankees GM Brian Cashman, just a day after effectively closing the door on Harper, said the club could pivot at any time, being a "fully operational Death Star."
MY TAKE >> Essentially, Boras needs the Yankees involved to provide an opportunity to drive Harper's price, and Cashman is not going to completely divulge his club's intentions. Each knows the other's tendencies very well, so there is clearly some gamesmanship going on between each side. For the Yankees, Cashman is intentionally throwing curveballs so teams involved in Harper's bidding and other clubs (some being the same ones) speaking with Manny Machado are not provided a glimpse of the Yankees full intentions. This back and forth will continue until Harper is signed or the Yankees sign Machado.
Yanks still alive in Britton talks
The Yankees are still in the mix for free-agent lefty reliever Zach Britton, The Athletic's Marc Carig reports.
MY TAKE >> Of the relievers that the Yankees have been linked to, Britton would seem to be the longest shot to obtain because he appears to be fully capable of securing a contract worth elite closer money. Britton, who will turn 31 next month, is a bit younger than the others the Yankees have been connected to -- Andrew Miller, Adam Ottavino, David Robertson and Joakim Soria -- potentially giving him a slight edge. In my view, Britton's allure is the fact that he's left-handed and represents the group's best replacement for Aroldis Chapman should he falter or fall to injury. The Yankees will have to determine if they want to have another reliever making elite closer money on the roster.
Gray market taking shape
Sonny Gray's market includes the Reds, Padres, Braves and Mariners, according to Fancred's Jon Heyman. Previous reports had as many as 11 teams showing interest in the right-hander.
MY TAKE >> This domino seems to be wobbling a little more now. I would speculate that since it is taking this long to come to a decision, the Yankees must be weighing decent offers for Gray. Except the Braves, all of these clubs will come without significant pressure to produce, something that may bode well for a resurgence by Gray. I would stress that the Yanks and Reds match up well here for second baseman Scooter Gennett as an option for the infield if New York feels as though they will lose out on Machado.